WD TV Live Hub marries streaming and stored media
Initially available at Best Buy and Western Digital's online store, the WD TV Live Hub in many ways acts like other streaming media settop boxes we've seen, such as Apple TV, Logitech's Revue, Roku, and the upcoming Boxee Box. You can rent or buy movies from Blockbuster or stream them from Netflix. It also includes apps for YouTube, Flickr and Pandora, plus Accuweather forecasts and video podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV and ESPN. Its integration with Facebook allows users to update photos and videos, share status, and view their wall from a TV.
What really sets the Live Hub apart from its competition is its 1TB (terabyte) internal hard drive, which allows it to act as a media server, locally storing digital content, including HD video, and streaming it to other DLNA-compliant devices around the house, such as TVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles. Content can also be sent to iPhones and Android phones or to an iPad. The box will automatically sync shared folders with networked computers.
The WD TV Live Hub box supports many media file formats, including 1080p video formats such as MP4, MOV, and MKV. And it's Wi-Fi ready, so it can accept a Wi-Fi adapter.
As we mentioned, the streaming media space is becoming increasingly crowded, leaving some doubt as to whether the market can support all the different offerings. We're looking forward to testing several of these new media players to see how they compare.
—James K. Willcox